Harris Poll could see changes to voting system

Changes in the way Harris Poll votes are tabulated could be made as early as this week, BCS coordinator Kevin Weiberg said before the Oklahoma-Texas game in Dallas on Saturday.

"Getting this right before the first set of BCS standings come out is what we're concerned about," Weiberg said. "We have been satisfied with the Harris Poll Top 25, but there are some elements we want to analyze further."

Weiberg said there are parts of the first-year Harris Poll formula that some of the BCS commissioners were not completely clear about. They expressed their confusion and concern during a recent teleconference.

Most notable is a process called "trimming" in which votes can be added for a team that did not appear in one voter's poll, based on their overwhelming voters on other ballots. In other words, if Virginia Tech were left off of only one voter's ballot, the Hokies could get added votes for statistical reasons.

One possibility would be using the "trimming" system which accounts for statistical variances, but also discounting votes that are way out of line, such as those for winless Idaho two weeks ago.

Weiberg said improving communication between the BCS and those conducting the Harris Poll, which has replaced the Associated Press poll as one-third of the formula to determine national championship participants, is essential.

The BCS has given the Harris Interactive Company control over the management of its poll, but hope that it can work in conjunction for possible improvements. Weiberg said the BCS has recommended the removal of any participants who do not submit votes (as has occurred the last two weeks) or are not available for follow-up inquisitions (as happened last week).

One participant voted for the same team twice, and Harris Poll representatives could not contact him. Weiberg said he believed the voter who did not participate had a "valid excuse."

"These voters have pledged their seriousness in participation," Weiberg said. "If they don't have a legitimate excuse we want the Harris people to excuse them."

Weiberg hopes to have the situation resolved this week. He smiled when it was mentioned this will be his last season as BCS coordinator.

Starting next season, NCAA basketball administrator Bill Hancock will become the BCS' first full-time administrator.

In the past, the duty rotated among BCS commissioners. "It's so hard because you end up dividing all your time," Weiberg said.

Joe Schad covers college football for ESPN.